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Tenants' advocacy groups face possible $100,000 funding cut

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Tenants will be left to fend for themselves if the City of Toronto follows through with its proposed funding cuts to tenant programs and services, said a non-profit tenants' rights group in a statement released Thursday.

"In the proposed 2011 City budget, $100,000 is being cut from the Tenant Defense Fund, a fund that provides services and programs supporting Toronto's tenants as well as a fund that tenants can access in order to challenge above guideline rent increases, demolitions, and conversions," said Effie Vlachoyannacos, Board Chair, Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA).

"With the support of the Tenant Defense Fund, the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations is able to provide important services and programs to over 60,000 Toronto tenants annually."

The FMTA runs a Tenant Hotline, a free telephone counselling service for Toronto residents about tenants' rights. Counsellors also provide referrals to community or city agencies and legal clinics. The Outreach & Organizing team provides information, referrals, workshops, and outreach & organizing services for tenants. And their Tenant Education Project holds workshops for tenants who wish to become more familiar with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTS).

"Mayor Rob Ford promised that there wouldn't be any service cuts and yet, at the first available opportunity, he and his Budget Committee are doing exactly that," said Vlachoyannacos.

She wants all Toronto residents to show their support for tenants by contacting the mayor and their councillor to tell them that they oppose the proposed cuts.

Budget consultations are scheduled for January 19 and January 20 across the city and Vlachoyannacos hopes that tenants and their supporters will show up to make a deputation or to support those who are making a deputation.

"Only through support like yours are we able to ensure that tenants are not left behind in Toronto," she said.

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